In The Loop DVD Review: Weapon Of Mass Comedy

August 26, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

In The Loop: Out on DVD from 24th August 2009

If In The Loop was a politician, it would be Boris Johnson: effortlessly amusing, idiotically rude and hugely successful.

Armando Ianucci’s beautifully cynical satire is a sharply hilarious slice of international diplomacy, which is as inaccurate as a dodgy expenses form, but infinitely more rewarding.

Those who have caught a glimpse of The Thick Of It, a BBC comedy by the same writing team will know exactly what we’re talking about and the script is tear-inducingly comical. It’s almost like a fabulous mix of 24, The West Wing and Alan Partridge.

The plot kicks-off with Simon Foster MP (Tom Hollander) accidentally stating that a proposed war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable” (he backtracks the next day by conceding to the press that “it might actually be forseeable”).

Although told off for not following ‘the line’ by the Prime Minister’s maverick enforcer Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), the statement coincides with the visit of influential US officials who jump upon the phrase and begin to use Simon, and his hapless new aide Toby, as pawns in an international game.

As the sexed-up dossiers pile-up, the rich selection of sexed-out characters – “I shagged her to stop the war” – give us a sardonic take on the subtle processes which go on between Whitehall and the White House.

You know what they say about art holding up a mirror to life? Well in this MP montage, everyone is represented, from the magnetic to the pathetic – via the apathetic.

Arch-protagonist Tucker is the most contemptible of them all, and seems to be completely unaware of the fact that he is utterly uproarious. As Downing Street’s attack-dog, he is a rude and acerbic, but how we yearned for his next scene – the man’s tongue is sharper than a knife rack.

Foster provides a superb foil to this whirlwind of f-words and one-liners. His habit of speaking as if he isn’t quite sure how the next sentence is going to end, makes for perfect deadpanning.

James Gandolfini puts in a refreshing turn as the Pentagon’s resident General, and there are some terrific performances from the American contingent – “in the land of truth, the man with one fact is king”. I could continue, but picking out actors is harsh as every character shines with the material they are given in this riot.

Original, compelling, relentlessly funny and very now – it’s almost enough to make you want to vote in the next election.


Sean Marland

Thought that In The Loop was an example of bad diplomacy? It can’t hold a candle to these films that tourist boards dread…

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